NFL hopeful Michael Sam: I’m just a football player, not a ‘gay football player’

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The NFL hopeful who looks set to be the first openly gay player to be drafted into a professional team this year said he hopes to be seen for his abilities, not his sexuality.

Michael Sam, a University of Missouri football player came out in an ESPN interview on 9 February.

Sam has now said he hoped that he would soon be able to move on from the attention gathered since 9 February.

“I just wish you guys would see me as Michael Sam the football player, not Michael Sam the gay football player,” he said.

Saturday’s statement was the first public address since he came out.

First Lady Michelle Obama tweeted after he came out to say she was “proud” of Sam’s achievements both on and off the field.

The NFL released a statement saying: “We admire Michael Sam’s honesty and courage. Michael is a football player. Any player with ability and determination can succeed in the NFL. We look forward to welcoming and supporting Michael Sam in 2014.”